Vampires & Scientists
Over the last two and a half years, over 250,000 people have been voluntarily swallowed alive, thanks to the creators of Dracula’s, the ever-evolving dinner theatre restaurant.
After a chance meeting with the president of the Science Centre Singapore in 2012, the Gold Coast based Newman family designed and created the Human Body Experience (HBX), one of the Science Centre’s most popular touring installation.
“We are extremely proud of the HBX and the work of our Gold Coast team. The experience is a fully interactive anatomical exhibit, where visitors climb onto a 20ft sculpture of a human face, through the mouth and down the vocal chords. They then travel inside the body, touching, feeling, hearing and being amazed by our inner workings,” Technical Director, Paul Newman explains.
The success of this unusual joint venture between the Newman’s and the Science Centre was so significant Paul was recently invited to speak at the International Association Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) in Orlando. The trade event is the largest meeting of themeparks, museums and entertainment facilities in the world. A great honour for a small, family owned and operated Australian business.
It sounds like a strange partnership – a conservative educational facility, in one of the strictest countries in the world with the creators of the often naughty, sometimes controversial, but always entertaining cabaret shows in Australia.
“When I spoke at IAAPA, there were over 100 scientists in the room from facilities around the world like the Smithsonian. They were curious to see how they could also use a joint venture to educate and engage visitors through entertainment. It’s been referred to as ‘edu-tainment’!”
“We spent a long time working with a team of medical experts to ensure we had the anatomical elements correct. We are already used to creating big shows, but we had to make sure the exhibit was factually correct, informative but connected with younger audiences.
“But I think it’s one of the reasons they chose us to for this project. As science novices, we could develop an experience people could relate to. We had to engage with them using non-scientific tools and through experience.”
Using safe non-toxic and recycled materials where possible was also part of the brief. But they had to be durable as well. Meaning the 200 strong team had to develop new technological concepts and processes.
Having finished its time in Singapore, the HBX has now returned to Australia for refurbishment and it will then be off on its next journey, having had interest from facilities all around the world.
Watch out for the Newman’s next project – the Science of Fear. This will look into the science of why we get scared and have phobias, then ultimately how we can overcome them. Test out your own fear factor at the vampire-inspired attraction from the Newman family here on the Coast. It’s to die for! www.draculas.com.au